Can an Intervention with Testosterone and Nutritional Supplement Improve the Frailty Level of Under-Nourished Older People?

Olga Theou, W I Chapman, L. Wijeyaratne, Cynthia Piantadosi, K. Lange, Vasi Naganathan, P. Hunter, I. D. Cameron, Kenneth Rockwood, Renuka Visvanathan

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15 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To examine whether a testosterone and a high calorie nutritional supplement intervention can reduce frailty scores in undernourished older people using multiple frailty tools.

DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial.

SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: 53 community-dwelling, undernourished men and women aged >65 years from South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

INTERVENTION: Intervention group received oral testosterone undecanoate and a high calorie supplement (2108-2416 kJ/day) whereas the control group received placebo testosterone and low calorie supplement (142-191 kJ/day).

MEASUREMENTS: Frailty was operationalized using three frailty indices (FI-lab, FI-self-report, FI-combined) and the frailty phenotype.

RESULTS: There were no significant differences in changes in frailty scores at either 6 or 12 months follow up between the two treatment groups for all scales. Participants at the intervention group were 4.8 times more likely to improve their FI-combined score at both time points compared to the placebo group.

CONCLUSION: A testosterone and a high calorie nutritional supplement intervention did not improve the frailty levels of under-nourished older people. Even so, when frailty was measured using a frailty index combining self-reported and lab data we found that participants who received the intervention were more likely to show persistent improvement in their frailty scores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-252
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of Frailty & Aging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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